December 15, 2018Press Release
LOS ANGELES — In a historic march, tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Los Angeles today to reinvest in public education, to demand that the Los Angeles Unified School District to stop hoarding the record-shattering almost $2 billion in reserves and use it immediately on our students, our schools and our classrooms.
UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl told the massive, picket-holding and banner-waving crowd that if there is no settlement by next month, “we will strike in the middle of January.”
“If we are forced to strike, it will be to defend our schools; but it will also be because we think our kids deserve more, we deserve more, because we dare to have high expectations,” Caputo-Pearl said to the cheering crowd. “If we strike, it is all of our strike. When we win, it is all of our victory. Are we going to win for our schools? Are we going to win for our kids?”
Then tens of thousands students, parents, educators and community members began the march, chanting throughout the streets of downtown, bringing the momentum and energy of the national teacher rebellion to the doorstep nation’s second-largest school district.
The massive demonstration then walked from City Hall, chanting as they marched side by side through the streets of downtown to demand Supt. Austin Beutner and LAUSD fulfill the promise and hope of quality public education for all, not just some. The march ended in front of the Broad Museum to highlight the destructive role billionaires like Eli Broad play in draining money from our public schools by funding the corporate charter industry and privatization efforts like the portfolio model.
“Eli Broad fought against school funding measures and he has funded the charter industry to undermine neighborhood public schools,” Caputo-Pearl said. “Broad has made LA a national experiment in privatization. Who’s ready to turn the tables on that? Who’s ready to fight for the nurses our students need? Who’s ready to fight for the counselors our students need? Who’s ready to fight for the class sizes our students need?”
United Teachers Los Angeles has been in contract negotiations with LAUSD for more than 18 months. In August, 98 percent of union members voted to authorize a strike. Negotiations are near the end of the fact-finding stage, after which the school district can impose its last, best, and final proposal and UTLA members can strike.
With class sizes that are too high and not enough resources in their classrooms and attacks to their profession, teachers are fighting for a profound reinvestment in Los Angeles schools. LAUSD has yet to make any meaningful progress on UTLA’s contract demands, including the ones that don’t cost money or would even save money, such as stopping overtesting and giving parents and educators a voice in school budgets.